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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  February 27, 2012 5:30pm-6:30pm PST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: nine afghans were killed today, after a suicide car bomber targeted a nato base, as deadly anti-american riots continued into a second week. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we examine what's at the source of the violence and w it will affect the american strategy and e ability to work with afghan security forces. >> ifill: then, we take a closer look at why mitt romney is having trouble closing the deal, through the eyes of voters in arizona.
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>> the scary part is falling into that who's electable, which way do i go? who do i think can get elected and who do i really support? >> woodruff: plus, stuart rothenberg and susan page assess the state of play in the g.o.p. campaign as e candidates vow they arin t racfor e long hal. >> ifill: as russian presidential elections approach, antigovernment protests grow. ray suarez talks with margaret warner, who's reporting from moscow. >> woodruff: and spencer michels reports on how music therapy can help the brain recover from disability or injury. >> music can make a positive impact on people suffering from early onset dimension, kids with aus tism, with veterans coming back and trying to learn to walk without a limb. >> ifil that's all aheaon tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> bnsf railway. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: coalition forces came under attack in afghanistan again today. no foreign troops were killed, but nine afghans died. it was part of a new spasm of anti-american violence. mangled automobiles were all that remained after a suicide car bomber rammed the gates of a nato base and airport in. >> labad. that followed the killing two american soldiers by an afghan soldier last week and then on saturday in the heart of kabul,
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two u.s. military advisors were murdered inside the afghan interior ministry. according to police, an afghan driver shot them from behind as they were working. today, a u.s. military spokesman said a nationwide manhunt for the suspect was ongoing. >> the investigation is just now underway. the afghans are also investigating it as well. we're working together with them on that. the killer fled. and there is an activeearch to find him. >> woodruff: the taliban claimed responsibility as revenge for the burning of muslim holy books at a u.s. military base last week. in all, at least 40 people have been killed in six days of deadly protests and attacks since then. afghan president hamid karzai had appealed for calm, but on sunday he mentioned the ministry attack only after
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being asked. >> unftunately yesterday we found out that two american officers were killed in the interior ministry. who has done this? where was he from? we don't know if he was afghan or foreigner or whether there was another motivation behind it. it is not clear yet. >> woodruff: the u.s. and nato pulled their advisor from afghan ministries after the saturday killing. and today the united nations also scaled back operations. it all raised new questions about the partnership with afghans as the u.s. and nato moved to wind down the war. u.s. ambassador ryan crocker acknowledged as much sunday on cnn. >> these are terrible tragedies, and very worthy. condemnation they've received, but this is not the time to decide that we're done here. we've got to redouble our efforts. we've got to create a situation in which al qaeda is is not coming back.
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>> woodruff: in an effort to assuage afghan anger, president obama issued an apology last week for the koran burning, but that act drew new criticism from his republican oppones on the nday lk shows. >> i tnkor a lo of people this sticks in their throat. >> to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the president of the united states, in my opinion, should not have done. >> woodruff: white house officials largely ignored the criticism. spokesman jay carney insisted the violence aimed at american troops will not force the u.s. to pull out early. >> it is important to remember that 95 to 97% of the missions the u.s. forces embark on in afghanistan, they do so with their afghan partners. we're talking about thousands and thousands of operations that proceed successfully with afghan partners without anything like this happening. >> woodruff: u.s. officials also said there are signs that the protests in afghanistan are easing.
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for more on all of this, we get three views. thomas johnson is a research professor at the naval postgraduate school in monterey in california. he's worked on afghan issues for the past two decades. matt sherman worked for the state department in afghanistan from 2009 to 2011. he was also an advisor to the top u.s. military commander and now has his own consulting firm. and andrew wilder is the director of afghanistan and pakistan programs at the united states institute of peace. we thank you all three for joining us. i'm going to start with you, matt sherman. when you look at this outbreak of violence, what does it say about how widespread, how deep is the anti-american sentiment in afghanistan? >> well, as ambassador crocker said, the deaths of americans and afans is truly a avey. b we mus resist the urge of pulling back and make every effort to reach forward. the decision to pull advisors
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out of the government ministries is really something that we can't have define our long-term relationship. i mean, this is a problem that is throughout afghanistan but there have been mistakes on every side. there has been poor communication, frankly, by americans in the government of afghanistan to articulate our intent and what we're trying to do together to bring security and govnance to that country. but this is not a situation where we shouldn't continue to try to bridge that divide. >> woodruff: thomas johnson, to try to get at the question of how deep, how widespread is this anti-american feeling, how do you read it? >> well, i think it's very widespread. there was an afghan army colonel quoted today in one of our newspapers. he said the sense of hatred is growing rapidly. he described his troops as thieves, liars and drug addicts. but he also said americans were rude, arrogant bullies who use foul language. it bngs me back a army
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rept th was publied in may of 2011 that was based on interviews of hundreds of afghan soldiers as well as hundreds of american soldiers. afghans basically looked at the united states as, you know, conducting illicit night raids, mistreating women, lack of respect for the country, indifference in shooting arrogance and constant cursing. while the united states, based on these interviews, suggested that afghan national army members were incompetent, drug use, cowary, lazy, unreliable. so i think there's system atic underlying tones here. there's some real break points between the united states and the afghan soldiers it seems to me right now. it's growing. it's a cumulative effect. >> woodruff: andrew wilder, how do you read this? how wide and deep is this feeling? >> afghan attitudes towards international is ambivalent. on the one hand incidents like
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the koran-burning incidents or the videos of troops urinating on dead taliban don't win afghan hearts and minds. on the other hand i don't think that translates into afghans wanting international forces to head for the exits right away. if there's one thing afghans fear more than anything else it's a return to anarchy and civil war like they had in the 1990s. i talked to one cabinet member there in kabul who said if you took a poll today and asked the majority of afghans do you want the international forces to stay, they say no. if you turn around the next day and ask them do you want them to leave, they also say no. there's an ambivalence of international presence in afghanistan. >> woodruff: matt sherman, back to you. what does all this say about this now longstanding u.s. plan to train the afghans to work with the americans to transfer power in the next couple of years? >> well, it means that we shouldn't make any drastic decisions right at the height
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of this type of intensity. we need to look at a more comprehensive type of approach. we have been redoubling our efforts to do training. there's certainly is much work to be done. but part of the reasonhy, in my mind,hy the talan or whomever is responsible for killing those trainers in the ministry of interior is because the enemy actually does see that type of training as a threat to them. by us, building relationships up with the police, they actually know that that's going to bring a capability that is a direct threat to the enemy and those that are trying to bring down the country and the government. >> woodruff: on that same question, thomas johnson, the eire.s. sategy now premised on the idea that the u.s. can trust the afghan security forces to work with the u.s., where does that stand? >> well, i mean, the wall street journal has reported
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that there's been 77 coalition members killed by afghan forces in the last five years. and 57 of those have been since early 2010. i think this is a growing problem. with the united states pulling its forces out, the united states is going to rely more and more on afghans toe able to guard forward operating bases and combat operating posts as well as roads and lines of communication. there's going to be more of an opportunity for this type of fratric uchlt de to occur unless we get to the bottom of this. i'm fairly pessimistic. i think this is an acculumation of a lot of mistrust between individual afghan soldiers and u.s. soldiers. >> andrew wilder, it sounds like you're occupying somewhat of a middle ground here between our other two guests. given what both of them are saying and given what you see and you've learned about what's happening over there, how does the u.s. thread and nato thread this needle right
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now? >> i also don't think we should just rush for the exits based on the events of the last two days dramatically shift our strategy. however, i've also been critical of the strategy of pinning too many hopes on the afghan national security forces as our exit strategy. a lot of questions about their capability. a lot of questions about sustainability. who is going to pay for them in the lg term? and now questions about with the new strategy of embedded trainers, is there going to be sufficient trust for that strategy to work? but that's where i feel that the security piece really needs to be matched by much more robust political strategy and a diplomatic strategy to push forward on a political negotiating front which is also going to be extremely difficult but we need to complement the security strategy with a more robust political strategy. >> woodruff: is that realistic, matt sherman? >> i believe it is. it was well put. i mean, there is high risk with any ofhese types of
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approach. when i was an advisor in baghdad to the ministry of interior, you know, we were frequently targeted. we were shot at. a colleague of mine was shot six times near fatally. these are the risks that come with this sort of job. but it's also a critical component in the mission. and why, in my mind, why the enemy has been targeting it more so in the recent months. >> woodruff: and thomas johnson, are you saying that you believe the timetable should be speeded up for widrawalthat despite th arguments, for example, that andrew wilder and matt sherman are making, that the u.s. should move more quickly to get out? >> yes. unfortunately, i believe that we should speed up the withdrawal. i think we've now been in afghanistan going on 11 years, well over twice as long as we were in world war ii. and afghans from the cobbler to the soldier on the street has lost faith in it, i believe. i think we've overstayed our
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welcome. we're now viewed as basically an occupier. i think that'sery dangerous >>oodruff:attshean? >> ihink 've been viewed as an occupier for a while. while this point in history these events are going to probably be looked at in history books over the coming years, it must be remembered as a time, i hope it's remembered as a time when afghans and americans come together to better understand one another and not a time when mercury treats under taliban threat. >> woodruff: what are' prospects, andrew wilder, that the two sides can understand one another? you come back to the koran- burning after 10, 11 years, sothing like that still happens. how do you deal with that? >> well, i think it is unfortunate that ten years into this we're still struggling at such basic levels to understand each other. that is grounds for pessimism. but ultimately i think we're there... the afghans still fear, as i said before, international forces leaving too quickly and things falling
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apart because as bad as things might seem to us right now, they have been much worse in the past in afghanistan. and the presence of international troops in the framework that president obama outlined of withdrawing downwards towards 2014 i think is what we should stay with for the time being. >> woodruff: practically speaking, what needs to happen now in order for the communication at least to improve, to be able to move to the next step? >> well, i think this is where... i mean, i think we need to stick to the strategy. this is where i think where about a month ago four french troops were tragically killed. shortly thereafter president sarkozy announced they're going to withdraw their french troops a year earlier than planned. i think that's very positive that the white house clarified that there w't b an acceleration of oop withdrawal now. we need to stick with the plan that's been outlined to date on the military front but we need to complement that with a much more robust political and diplomatic strategy. >> woodruff: andrew wilder, thomas johnson, matt sherman,
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we thank you all three. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, the volatile g.o.p. race as seen from arizona; political analysis from rothenberg and page; the russian presidential election; and music as a therapeutic tool. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the opposition in syria reported dozens of new deaths today, as many as 138. and there were also new protests against the regime, even in the syrian capital. we have a report narrated by jonathan miller of independent television news. >> reporter: in the heart of damascus last night, local people gathered to curse the soul of the dictator. and in support of the rebel syrian army. this unverifiable footage purportedly showing protestors being fired on by syrian soldiers. at least three reportedly killed. this man hit but dragged to safety. in the same district, this morning a mass funeral for
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those killed last night. the secret police are everywhere here but the defiance too spirited to stifle. here two protest marches meet within spitting distance of the presidential palace. >> the president will be shocked by today's news that his new referendum has won 89.4% popular support. it guarantees the rights and freedoms of the syrian people and means assad could still be president in 2028. this is homs this morning. >> you want a constitution? is this what god wants? this is what y
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there were time to give guns to the rebels.
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>> sreenivasan: late today, the syrian d crescent was able to evacuate three people from the ci ofoms. the ousted president of yemen, ali abdullah saleh, will leave the country within two days, to go into exile in ethiopia. saleh's aides announced that today, amid fears that his continued presence in yemen would incite new violence. the former leader had been in the u.s. recently for medical treatment. he returned to yemen on saturday for the inauguration of abed rabbo mansour hadi, as the country's new president. the anti-secrecy web site wikileaks began publishing more than five million e-mails today from stratfor, an intelligence analysis firm based in texas. wikileaks founder julian assange said the e-mails show stratfor has run a network of paid informants and spied on activist groups for major multinational corpotions. stratfor insisted it adheres to high professional standards. an ohio teenager was killed and four others wounded today when a gunman opened fire at a high school outside cleveland. police surrounded the locked school in chardon after the shooter allegedly targeted students in the cafeteria. worried parents gathered outside.
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sheriff daniel mcclelland said the suspect was taken into custody a short time later. >> several years ago the school district and local law enforcements began conducting drills, training, practice, if you would, for an event just like occurred today. as a result of that, we were well prepared for the response. >> sreenivasan: other students described the shooter as a classmate who had been bullied. police would not speculate on the motive. in economic news, the housing sector showed new life in january. the national association of realtors reported contracts to buy homes reached the highest level in nearly two years. and on wall street, the dow jos industrial average ce close to ending the day ave 1300, but fell sho in he en for thday,he d gaid ju one point to close at 12,981. the nasdaq rose two points to close at 2966. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: and to the presidential campaign.
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tensions are running high as republican candidates prepare for voters to head to the polls in two more primaries tomorrow. kwame holman has our report. >> reporter: the republican candidates had packed scheduled one day ahead of the michigan and arizona primary. mitt romney's first of three ral res was in rockfordford michigan a state where his father once was governor. >> we're going to stop some of this excessive spending and finally cut federal programs so we can balance our budget. i'm also going to take programs and send a lot of them that we need back to the states because i believe the states can do a better job running some programs than the federal government. >> reporter: in detroit decks as congressman ron paul also focused on spending and debt. >> it used to be we thought about distant generations. we're passing this debt off to our kids and grandchildren. let me tell you, the mess we're in now is today. it's us. >> reporter: and former pennsylvania senator rick santorum pl also called for religion to play a
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wider role in public policy. sunday on abc he defended that view saying he almost threw up when he read john f. kennedy's 1906 statement that separation of church and state should be absolute. >> absolute to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? you bet that makes you throw up. what kind of country do we live in that says only people of non-faith can come in the public square and make their case? that makes me throw up. >> reporter: the fourth republican in contention, newt gingrich, was leaving frontrunners romney and santorum to fight for michigan and arizona while he looked to super tuesday states that vote march 6. gwen ifill spent last week in arizona sounding out voters there. >> ifill: diane has her political priorities in order. as a member of the arizona tea party, she is certain of one thing. she wants to defeat president obama. >> sign up right here and i'll email you and contact you directly and give you all the
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information. >> ifill: she switched from independent to republican and set out to find a candidate she could support. >> the immigration is very important to us here. i have friends who live on the border who woke up and their backyard... americans shouldn't live that way. >> ifill: last week, her search took her to a g.o.p. luncheon in phoenix where former pennsylvania senator rick santorum was the featured speaker. >> the scary part is falling into that who's electable? you know, instead of who you really want. i think that's wre pple ar tryg to decie. which way do i go? who do i think can get elected and who do i really support? >> this election is about found amountal things. >> ifill: santorum went over big. >> whether we'll have the government under obama care and a whole host of other things. cap and trade that he has put forward. dodd-frank much as to what loan you're going to get. which light switch you can turn on. what car you're going to drive. will you be the generation that succumbs to the siren
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song that government can do better for you than you can do for yourself? >> no! >> ifill:y the time t luncheon ended, an informal party straw poll went to santorum. and diane had made up her mind too. >> i was very impressed. he spoke from the heart. no teleprompters. that was impressive. yeah, i think i'm going to give him... santorum my vote. >> reporter: diane, who also liked herman cain and wishes sarah palin had run, is part of the biggest moving target in this year's primary race: republicans who can't or won't warm to mitt romney. according to the latest statewide poll romney is comfortably ahead in arizona, but for him there have been no easy wins. the big issues here-- border security, high unemployment, home foreclosures-- have made this state fert i'll breeding ground for fiscal conservatives but social
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issues like religion, abortion and gun ownership have resonated just as strongly. >> we've been married 42 years now. >> reporter: romney has gone out of his way. >> are we going to become a european social welfare state with high unemployment, high burdens, high debt, low job growth or are we going to restore the kind of values that the nation was founded upon? i'm going to take the federal spending budget line by line. i'm going to ask this question. can we afford this program? if we can't afford it, if we can't pay for it out of current revenues i'll ask this question. is this program so essential, it's worth borrowing money from china to pay for it? if not i'll get rid of it. >> ifill: romney's presumed frontrunner status has been challenged in contest after contest this primary season as the former massachusetts governor and his supporters have spent tens of millions of dollars confronting one surging candidate after another. >> you have to ask yourself,
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what electorate? if you look at all registered voters, pretty moderate electorate. if you look at the voters that go to the polls on election day, they tend to be pretty right wing. >> ifill: the volatility has been driven by a committed minority of conservative voters. >> my research shows that about 20% of the people in arizona ar evangelical tea party way right. another 20% of republicans say they support basically what is happening with the tea party. somewhere around half of the people in arizona are at least sympathetic. really the bigger picture, what's happened from day one? the conservatives don't like romney. >> ifill: in last week's arizona debate, newt gingrich and ron paul said they too will make promises to consertive-based voters but they'll keep them. >> you have to have somebody who can actually get it done in washington not just describe it on the campaign trail. >> i find it really
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fascinating that when people are running for office, they're really fiscally conservative. when they're in office, they do something different. then when they explain themselves they say, oh, i want to repeal that. >> ifill: a home schooling mother of five likes santorum's emphasis on social rather than economic issues. >> the social issue is pretty foundational. i think that the economy is going to change. it's going to be good and then going to be bad. i don't really believe that one person can control that necessarily. i think that foundationally where he stands with the social issues is kind of like underlying all of his decisions, whether they're financial or foreign or any of those other issues. >> ifill: romney voters like this one who came to see him speak at a christian academy here reached a different conclusion. >> when it comes to a politician you're not going to find someone who will be side by side with you in every value. at the same time i think the issues that will come up when he's actually governing are
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going to be more related to the economy and to jobs and unemployment rather than, say, a social issue that may be more important to me on a side issue. like i said with the economy, it's... when you're paying $5 a gallon for gas and your dad lost his job, those things are more important. >> ifill: senator john mccain has endorsed romney but some of the state's most well known conservative names have pointedly refused to take sides. controversial law and order sheriff met with santorum last week but hedged his bets. >> well i like a fighter. i mean, i ran 20 years ago. nobody knew me. i kept fighting. but i do what i feel is right. he does too. >> ifill: he has grown disenchanted are romney. >> i was romney's campaign guy four years ago. he seems to have forgotten my number. >> ifill: russell pierce the author of 1070 the state's strict anti-immigration
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legislation won't endorse either. >> we never had a perfect candidate. you can never let the perfect be the enemy of the god. ifyou're loong f a perfect guy we'll never get there. >> schieffer:. >> ifill: governor jan brewer who famously confronted president obama at an arizona airport was still undecided as late as last week. >> it has been a very interesting spot shall campaign. ... a very interesting presidential campaign. somebody on top and somebody on the bottom and then vice versa. >> ifill: do you honestly believe any of these four candidates can beat barack obama in the fall? >> i did not say that. i believe they're all very talented. they could be a lot better president than obama. >> ifill: but yesterday on "meet the press" she threw her support to romney. >> i think that things will settle down. i think that after super tuesday we'll have our candidate. >> ifill: romney supporters like arizona state senator michelle reagan worry that
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extended infighting will hurt republicans in the long run. >> rick santorum to me, but it seems like he's the last man standing that isn't a romney. they've gone through everyone else. i wish that the party would, my party would gaer together around one person and be gung- who, whoever that person is. because the real prize is november, not these primaries. >> ifill: congressman trent frank who supports gingrich believes the ongoing uncertainty is revealing. >> there's a search for, you know, a better alternative than mr. romney because the core conservative elements that make up this party, which are really the heart of the party, often times here an equivocation or sort of a subliminal ambiguity in what mr. romney says. many times it seems like when asked a direct question, mr. romney is a master at answering with a completely different way. >> ifill: state party chairman
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tom is unconcerned about the "anybody but romney" fight. >> unbelievable. i think it's great. i really think it's great. you know, some of my colleagues think that it's not. but it is because i remember in 200 and i remember what went on when president obama and hillary clinton. that went into ju. when that was done, it made president obama a strong candidate. who went on to win the election. >> ifill: as all four candidates ramp up for tomorrow's voting and for primaries and caucuses in ten states on march 6, each is hoping that what does not eliminate him now will make him stronger in the fall. no no matter what voters decide tomorrow, all four candidates say they are preparing for a series of contests that could last until june. for more on what that scenario means for the eventual nominee and forhe incumbent president, we turn to susan page, shington bureau chief of "u.s.a. today." and stuart rothenberg of the "rothenberg political report"
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and "roll call" newspaper. 24 hours from now, how critical, susan, is tomorrow night, is the outcome? >> it is everything. we're pretty sure governor romney will win arizona but whether or not he wins michigan is in some doubt. he's in the real clear politics averaging of state polls he's up 1.5 points which is not a safe margin. if he loses.... >> it's not a margin at all. >> if you loses in michigan all bets are off. we're going to have th kind of race that we would spend our lives as political reporters hoping to cover. if he wins in michigan, even if it's not a big win, a narrow win, it seems to me he gets back on track for the nomination. >> ifill: you heard what the folks in arizona were saying about looking around for somebody else. what is driving that? this is not the only state where we've heard that. >> i think there is dissatisfaction with the field. we've seen the survey data showing that people wish somebody else was in the race. there's been a lack of enthusiasm in many of these contests, caucuses and primaries. i think people want to be able
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to get excited about a single candidate. republicans understand their party is divided. that's a terrible situation for a party to be in. the country looks to parties for ldership and strength and ideas and vision. and when you have candidates attacking one another in a party, supporters attacking one another, it gives a very sour taste i think to many voters. even the partisans realize that. >> ifill: in a state like michigan democrats can cross and vote the other way. there's mischief going on. >> there's talks that democrats will move over. they can declare themselves republicans just for the moment, vote in that primary and some democratic leaders have said vote for santorum on the theory that that scrambles the republican race for a while longer. i think sometimes these opportunities are overstated. i don't know that i can think of a case where it really made a big difference. on the other hand, if you have a very close race, you know, every vote could matter. >> ifill: that's what this is. if this is going on longer than mitt romney would have liked, is he being
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strengthened and tested in some way or is he being weakened because he's being forced to spend all of his money in the primary? >> the republican optimist would say he's being tested and he will know now the kind of attacks he's going to get in the fall from the democrats and president obama's campaign. that's true. all that is right. on the other hand, i think that the other hand is somewhat larger in this case. mitt romney negatives are going up. he's under the microscope. he has stumbled here and there with some comments. he is being picked apart by his opponents and by the national media. his negatives are going up. the bottom line of this is that it's probably doing more damage to him than good. although there is this, you know, you really have to be tested. you have to go through the ringer to be prepared for a general election. >> ifill: you can't be defeated by nobody. so how strong is the latest challenger to the throne? that is, rick santorum?
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does he have the money, the organization to actually knock mitt romney off. >> he doesn't have as much money as mitt romney. he doesn't have the organization. but if he managed to win tomorrow night in michigan he would have the momentum that would carry him to the super tuesday contest just a week away, a week later alabama and mississippi. i mean there is a wave to these things. now one thing we are now seeing though is santorum support nationally is starting to ebb. he was ten points above mitt romney in the gallup national tracking poll when we were here last week. today he is down four. that's a huge swing. it's the same kind of swing we've seen with other non-... other... "any "anybody but romney" candidates. we saw it with gingrich twice and now santorum. they surge up, beat romney. they get scrutiny and say things that cause controversy. they go back down. romney comes back up. romney has sustainability perhaps even if he doesn't have a lot of enthusiasm. >> ifill: do these ups and
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downs help the incumbent president on the side lines largely. >> no doubt that the president is doing better or is showing better in national polls. i think there are two general categories. two reasons for that. one is the better economic numbers or the perception that things are getting better. consumer confidence and unemployment rate. but this republican in-fighting is a huge advantage. the president is really off the front pages if you think about it over the past six weeks. it hasn't been about barack obama except when he does things like introduces this budget or talks about contraception. but he has been on the side lines. this is one of those cases where absence makes the heart grow fonder apparently. the public is focused on the negativity of the republican race. that is helping the president. >> ifill: are there issues-- what a concept: issues-- which are driving this discontinue sent? or is it just that people don't reich romney personally or are there issues with which these voters are sayg i like what this guy thinks about contraception or i like what
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he thinks about education. >> there is almost no difference in the republican field if you take out ron paul among the candidates between romney and santorum. very little difference on any of the ten most important issues but what there is is a difference in levels of trust about whether they really hold these positions. they all say they're conservatives. are they really? this is hurting romney, the idea that as governor of massachusetts he took positions that were more moderate that are at his core people suspect he' mo derate than the rhetoric he's using now. if you wanted to parse out issues on the economy or the deficit or jobs, it is hard to find a big difference between the two men. >> i agree entirely. i think if you just looked at the romney speeches over the past three years there is no sign that he's anything but a committed conservative. it's just that a huge chunk of the republican party does not believe that. >> ifill: march 6, ten states. which ones are you watching? >> i think ohio is obviously the, if not the whole ball of wax, the most important. it's a state that is a swing
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state in the general election anshould be a swing sta in this contest. we're going to find out who won or lost super tuesday. >> santorum could challenge romney in ohio. the other state to watch is georgia. if newt gingrich does not win in georgia, his home state, can he stay in the race? will he have the money? and the standing to continue to be a credible candidate? i think that's a question to watch as well. >> ifill: it's just not over, stewart rothenberg, susan page, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> sure. >> woodruff: and we turn to a presidential election in a very different part of the world. ray suarez has our story. >> suarez: russians go to the polls sunday to choose their next president. and current prime minister putin hopes they'll return him to his old job. tens of thousands of protestors have something different in mind. they formed a human chain on a main road circling the kremlin in central moscow yesterday to
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register their opposition. they're part of a movement ignited last december after alleged fraud in parliamentary elections. the 59-year-old prime minister fired back today, publishing a lengthy manifesto in a moscow paper warning the west and other powers not to take military action against syria and iran and accusing the u.s. of meddling in the politics of russia and its neighbors. and a state-run television station reported today that a joint russian-ukrainian operation had captured men reportedly plotting to assassinate putin after next sunday's election. the men are allegedly chech inseparatists. margaret warner is in moscow coveri the election. margaret, good to have you with us. tell us more about this reported assassination plot. >> warner: it was very strange to watch this report on state- controlled television out of odessa in ukraine centering on an apartment complex where they said they nabbed several men involved in this bomb plot against putin.
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two of the men in different scenes were paraded before the cameras and confessing to having been sent to do this deed by this chech interorist leader who has claimed responsibility for successful bombings here in moscow the last couple of years. there were immediately comments on the web and elsewhere about how the videotaped confessions looked fake. that's in the eye of the beholder. certainly as commentators noted the timing was convenient. these men were supposedly arrested two or three weeks ago but announced today. as you may recall putin first made his reputation on the suppressing, the battling against the chechyn separatist movement starting in the early '90s. it also reinforces his theme as sort of strong man methods in this campaign which is i'm the only person standing between russia and the chaos of the '90s. >> saurez: as the situation worsens in syria and pressure
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mounts on russia to drop its support for the assad regime, does putin show any sign of backing down or changing russia's policy. >> warner: no, ray, absolutely not. as putin made clear in this manifesto, this creed that he published today, part of a series he's been doing during the campaign, he said, you know, it was inappropriate for anyone to intervene militarily in syria. he said that the west, the united states and other countries, had supported other movements in the arab spring not out of humanitarian reasons but playing power politics globally. and he drove home again another campaign theme of his which is "i'm the strong man standing up for a strong russia against its enemies not only internal but external namely the united states." >> suarez: can the former president who hopes to be president again pursue the russian equivalent of rose garden strategy? can he hang back? can he run on his reputation and the stature of his office?
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or has the opposition forced him to run a real presidential campaign. >> warner: the opposition has definitely forced him to run a real presidential campaign, ray. from the time they got out last december after the fraud- riddled parliamentary elections of early december, vladimir putin's aura of invincibility and incredible popularity has been undermined. kremlin insiders are worried about that, not that they really think he's going to lose but the more that aura is chipped away, the more it will affect or undermine his ability to govern in the way he has in the past. so he is out there running every day you see him on the news, he's out there visiting some other far-flung portion of russia, part of russia. he's writing all these long ed editorials. he appeared at a huge pro putin rally here in moscow last week. he wants, if possible, to win the election next sunday on the first round.
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that is to get over 50%. >> suarez: you have seen some of that campaign, gotten a feel for the pre-election atmosphere, seen some of the street demonstrations. you were also in egypt and bahrain when they had their uprisings. does russia feel like it's on the verge of a big change too the way those countries did? >> warner: in other words, is this the russian arab spring? that is a question people are talking about here. and the answer is, of course, yes and no. yes, this has been prompted by an urban middle class yearning now for respect, to be treated respectfully in the political sphere and also for an end to the corruption which benefits the elite and disadvantages those not really well connected. but, ray, i don't sense the same level of anger and desperation that i did certainly in some crowds in egypt. who really felt just so beaten down, so demeaned in every way by the mubarak regime. people here in russia know
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that economically they are so much better off than they were 12 years ago when putin came to power. they don't want to throw that away. they he a much better life than they ever had before. and also i have to say that i don't sense a... there's no romantic notion of revolution here. this is a people that lived through what the communist revolution brought and the ruin it ultimately brought. they are not in love with that idea. there is a certain yearning of stability that i think prevails at the same time. >> suarez: great to talk to you. that's our margaret warner. we look forward to your next stories where you'll be reporting from an opposition campaign event and on those who support putin. thanks for joining us. >> warner: thanks, ray. >> ifill: finally tonight, a report on the power of music therapy in treating brain injuries and helping patients
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recover. it's a field of science and medicine which has captured new attention because of its role in helping congresswoman gabrielle giffords recover from her serious brain injury. newshour correspondent spencer michels reports. >> reporter: when representative gabrielle giffords returned to washington for this year's state of the union address, it was clear she had made a dramatic recovery after being shot in the head a year ago. her family credits music therapy for helping to get her voice back. >> liberty and justice for all. >> reporter: giffords' treatment with specially trained music therapists has called new attention to a field that's been around at least 100 years. while research on the neuro logical fects of mic therapy is in its infancy, what is known is that a number of regions in the brain are activated by listening to music. and sign tiffs say the brain responds to music by creating
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new pathways around damaged areas. >> just give it a tap. there it is. ♪ >> change that? do you think the get.... >> reporter: music is now being used to help patients with a wde variety of illnesses not just bra trauma. that's the case with 16-year-old michael hendricks jr. of california who has muscular dystrophy, a disease that progressively weakens the muscles. a music therapist has been working with him at the children's hospital at the university of california san francisco. >> due to his condition there's a lot that he doesn't have control over, and so we use music as a means to help him get in touch with that control. >> reporter: do you see it working? >> i think hopefully we all saw it working today.
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i think that was evidenced through michael's smile and his focus on the music-making process. >> reporter: hendricks' father also believes music, in his case, rap or hip hop, is one of the few ways to reach his son. >> you have a new pair of head phones to listen to his favorite music which is little wayne and drake. he definitely has music in his brain all the time. he loves the beat. >> reporter: can you tell if music helps in his situation with his mood or with anything? >> yes. it helps in his attitude. he mellows out. he doesn't think about his medical problems. >> what did i just do with my hand when we were playing? >> going up and down to make this noise louder.
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>> reporter: hughes works for the center for music national service, the program sends therapists into hospitals and schools to expand the use of music. the program is the brain child of musician kif gallagher who worked on americorps in the clinton administration. >> it's definitely been shown that music can make a positive impact on people suffering from early onset dementia, kids with autism, with veterans who are coming back and trying to learn to without walk without a limb. >> reporter: music therapy professor eric walden who teaches at the university of the pacific in stockton california said he's seen and studied patients with brain injuries where music makes a difference, as it apparently did in former representative giffords' case. >> it's the rhythmic aspects of music that are providing that structure, that organization within time that
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are allowing her to learn to walk again or to gain speech sounds. i think what we find in people that have had brain injuries, sometimes it's easier for them to sing words rather than to say words. music is providing that pathway or almost like a cerebral by-pass around the damaged areas allowing someone to regain mobility or regain speech. >> reporter: a growing number of studies do suggest music can aid healing in various ways. one recent scientific paper out of harvard showed music therapy helped stroke patients regain speech. and other studies found music may improve heart and respiratory rates and blood pressure as well as anxiety and pain in cancer and leukemia patients. >> where does it go? >> reporter: dr. rob goalsby a pediatric oncologist at the children's hospital has seen
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that happen. >> music therapy quite literally can soothe the soul. i think helps them get through the process of cancer therapy. they have to endure the pokes and products of exams and the multitude of tests that they have to go through. the vile chemotherapy they have to endure. the vicious radiation and surgery. >> reporter: but scientifically studying, quantifying and proving the effects of music therapy on patients with different ailments and different treatments presents a big challenge. says a ph.d. in cognitive neuro science at the university of california. >> one of the challenges in doing clinical research is actually getting a homogeneous enough group to really look at the effects of an intervention on a group of patients. i think we're still really
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trying to understand the mechanisms that influence the therapeutic effects of music. >> reporter: johnson has been studying how music appears to lower depression rates among senior members of choirs in finland. she says music can actually change the brain. >> there are now several studies showing that participating in music has an impact on the structure of the brain. >> reporter: and involvement in music can benefit anyone, says this woman, a fiddle player, who teaches folk dancing to help professionals as a means of healing. >> one of the things in healing is a state of mind, correct? you have to get the will of the person. it's not about the technique. it's about enjoying. about moving, about just being in the moment. >> reporter: is this in your opinion a form of therapy? >> absolutely. i believe unequivocally. >> reporter: but dancing or
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singing is not strictly music therapy. argues eric walden at the university of the pacific. >> it isn't johnny went to choir and johnny got better. it's that johnny has a music therapist, and together with the music therapist, he got better. >> reporter: but johnny taking part in a chorus actually could be therapeutic, couldn't it? >> absolutely it could. but it's not music therapy. the term therapy itself says there's a therapeutic relationship and there's an intentional use of music to address non-musical goals. >> reporter: the university of the pacific has one of 73 music therapy programs in the country. students in the four-year program are already musicians when they arrive on campus. ♪ you say stop and i say go, go, go ♪ >> reporter: at a stockton school for medically fragile severely disabled children, music therapy students are trying to engage those with
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special needs. evewith this hard-to-reach group, professor walden argues the therapy has an effect. >> music can provide a mechanism for children with developmental disabilities to communicate. what we know about the brain science in general is that whenever you experience something new, new brain connections are being made. what you're doing is providing an opportunity for them to grow new pathways within their brain. ♪ will you high five and say hello ♪ can you high five and say hello? nice smiling. high five. up here. yeah. nice high five. >> reporter: the fact that music often can encourage and stimulate patients who are
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hard to reach has spurred scientists to delve deeper into how it affects the brain and how that knowledge can be used to improve the therapy it provides. ♪ we're glad you're here ♪ ear going to have some fun ♪ >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. nine afghans were killed after a suicide car bomber targeted a nato base as deadly anti- american riots continued into a second week. the opposition in syria reported as many as 138 new deaths as the military blasted away at the city of homs. and a shooting at a high school outside cleveland killed one teenager and wounded four others. another student was arrested as the alleged gunman. and to hari sreenivasan, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: find more of spencer's reporting on music therapy on the rundown blog.
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on our politics page, the political checklist returns as political editor christina bellantoni asks gwen and judy what they are watching for in tomorrow's arizona and michigan primaries. and on our world page, two more presidential elections, our team in russia has more on vladimir putin's try for a third term. plus we have an update from senegal, which has been rocked by weeks of anti-incumbent protests. all that and more is on our web site, gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the pivot point primaries in arizona and michigan. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to
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live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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